Dartmoor Prison

Dartmoor Prison,

English prison, at Princetown, Devonshire, built (1806–9) to house French captives during the Napoleonic Wars. During the War of 1812 many American prisoners were confined there, and their brutal mistreatment was investigated after the war by an Anglo-American commission that awarded compensation to the families of those who had died there. Between 1812 and 1816 about 1,500 American and French prisoners died in the prison and were buried in a field beyond the prison walls. Unoccupied for over 30 years, Dartmoor was reopened in 1850 as a civilian prison for convicts sentenced to long terms of imprisonment or to hard labor.


See A. J. Rhodes, ed., Dartmoor Prison; A Record of 126 Years of Prisoner of War and Convict Life, 1806–1932 (1933); T. Tullett, Inside Dartmoor (1966).

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References in periodicals archive ?
But she forgave him when she learned that he had gone on to be chief warder at Dartmoor prison, where prisoners were taught to read and write - a novelty in the British prison system at the time.
1809: Dartmoor Prison was opened to house French prisoners of war.
Visit nearby Princetown for the chilling silhouette of the notorious high security Dartmoor Prison, then sit on the top of Hound Tor as dusk falls and the whole moor falls eerily quiet around you.
"Prison is probably how I expected it to be - a naughty boys' boarding school," said Mr Pickering, who spent three months in Swansea prison, followed by 15 months in Dartmoor prison and the same amount of time in Prescoed prison, near Usk.
On Friday, the Prince of Wales visited Dartmoor Prison in Princetown, Devon.
The climb is pastoral and pleasant until you reach the outcrop of Haytor when the road plunges into Widecombe, home of Uncle Tom Cobley and All, before climbing on to the bleakest stretch from famous beauty spot Dartmeet to Two Bridges, with Dartmoor prison etched on the horizon.
"There is quite a story of how I became an escapologist but I won't go into that now.'' Len, 81, who was born in Charleston in West Virginia, said: "Many years ago I had a request from a gentleman who was writing a book on the history of London's Palladium requesting a copy of the programme when I appeared there in 1971.'' Len went on to say: "During our subsequent correspondence he discovered to the best of his records that I had the doubtful honour of being the only other act to perform escapology at the Palladium other than the great Houdini who appeared there in the 1920s.'' One place where Len had a captive audience with his act was Dartmoor Prison but he doesn't say whether he gave any tips on how to escape to any of the inmates!
Our front page told how Dartmoor prison warders were on high alert after a "squeaker" - or informer - said 12 inmates planned to shoot their way out using three hidden guns.
| 1806: The foundation stone of Dartmoor prison in Devon was laid by Thomas Tyrwhitt.
Eddie now enjoys a qui-eter life in a Saltburn retirement home, but after joining the army aged 19 he was in command of 60 convicts from Dartmoor Prison within a year, pulling people from burning buildings during the blitz.
Even worse for Scots was to be sent the length of Britain to Dartmoor Prison, temporarily renamed Princetown Work Centre, with no hope of visits from family.
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